Following previous success with the short film genre, three fashion brands are kicking off the holidays by debuting even more extensive cinematic campaigns — featuring intricate storylines and serious talent.
In the latest installment of Kate Spade New York’s “Missadventure” series, brand partner Anna Kendrick finds herself vying for a Town Car on a wintery New York City night with “Girls” actress Zosia Mamet. “We chose to pair Zosia with Anna because there was a wonderful harmony,” says the film’s director, Marielle Heller, who also helmed 2015 feature film “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.” “We thought that while they share the qualities that make someone a Kate Spade New York girl — intelligence, charm, individuality and curiosity — their personal styles could be authentically distinct, and yet complementary.”
That the actresses had never met was important to Heller, whose sassy holiday short “The Joy Ride,” released in early November, portrays a budding female friendship through sharp dialogue and Upper East Side-esque attire. This fourth film in the playful series continues the journey of modern heroine Kendrick, who turns everyday conundrums (like getting locked out or dining alone) into opportunities — in a way that the brand hopes will emotionally resonate.
“We believe that if we entertain and engage our customer with stories she connects with, she will understand something about Kate Spade New York that runs deeper than the products we sell,” says Kate Spade’s VP of brand creative, Kristen Naiman. “She will be inspired to lead a life she loves, and express herself and that life with our products.”
British luxury fashion house Burberry is also upping its film game this season. Last year, the brand enlisted David and Victoria Beckham’s then-12-year-old son Romeo to play Cupid in “From London With Love,” Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey’s directorial debut. This year, Bailey appealed to a few additional friends — including Elton John, James Corden, Michelle Dockery, Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley — to join Beckham in his second short film venture, celebrating the 15-year anniversary of “Billy Elliot.”
“‘Billy Elliot’ is such a festive film,” says brand loyalist Huntington-Whiteley, who shot her first Burberry campaign on her 21st birthday. The “Mad Max: Fury Road” star joins the other British icons who — while clad in Burberry trench coats, scarves and formalwear — re-create the bouncy opening sequence of “Elliot” to T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer,” the film’s original track. “I feel so British being part of Burberry,” notes Campbell, another longtime collaborator. “Burberry really does make you feel like part of the family.”
Karl Lagerfeld is likewise broadening his cast. Following in his grand tradition of directing films to accompany Chanel’s Metiers d’Art shows, the creative director’s newest short, debuting in Rome on Dec. 1, will feature “Twilight” megastar Kristen Stewart. Stewart, who’s appeared in Chanel print campaigns, will now play a fastidious actress impersonating the brand’s founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Geraldine Chaplin will revive the more mature Coco she’s played in previous films — taking over after Keira Knightley personified a younger version of the visionary, shown opening her first French shop in 2013’s “Once Upon a Time.”
Lagerfeld’s shorts have grown increasingly cinematic, 2014’s “Reincarnation” featuring original music by Pharrell Williams in the account of how Coco found inspiration from an Austrian resort employee’s jacket. As for why he continues to tell fashion stories through film, Lagerfeld explained to WWD: “It’s a modern way to communicate.”